Keys re-opens door to No. 1; System second

MTV kudocast helps artists rise on the charts

NEW YORK — Alicia Keys’ commanding performance at MTV’s Video Music Awards last week helped push her back into the No. 1 spot on this week’s album charts, but newcomer System of a Down nipped at her heels with a silver-medal debut.

Sales of Keys’ J Records debut, “Songs in A Minor,” rose 13% to 192,000 after 11 weeks in the rankings, according to data compiled by SoundScan. The 20-year-old chanteuse wowed the VMA audience in Gotham’s Metropolitan Opera House last week with a rendition of her hit single “Fallin’.” Keys’ album has sold more than 2.1 million copies.

Several other star acts saw their VMA perfs on Sept. 6 pay off on the charts. “Break the Cycle” (Elektra) from hard-rockers Staind moved ahead seven spots to No. 6 on sales of 110,000; “Hybrid Theory” (Warner) by Linkin Park climbed four places to 11; and “J. Lo” (Epic) from Jennifer Lopez notched a five-spot gain to 11.

Also picking up speed after an appearance at the show were veteran Irish rockers U2. After a hefty 45 weeks on the top 200, the foursome’s latest release, “All That You Can’t Leave Behind” (Interscope), jumped to 78 from 104, with a sales gain of nearly 19%.

Down bow near top of charts

The lone debut to place within the top 50 this week came from eclectic metal act System of a Down. The group’s second LP, titled “Toxicity” (American/Columbia), bowed in second place, with just over 170,000 copies sold.

Other gainers this week included the cartoon virtual-band Gorillaz, which ascended seven places to 14. The self-titled album has gradually worked its way up the rankings in the past 12 weeks, scanning 660,000 units so far. The group, fronted by Blur singer Damon Albarn, has gotten substantial support from cable net MTV2, which has kept the single “Clint Eastwood” in heavy rotation for weeks.

Next week will almost certainly be a quiet one for the record business, with stores closed and Americans still shell-shocked after devastating terrorist attacks in New York and Washington on Tuesday. Those who do go to the stores are likely to vault rapper Jay-Z’s “Blueprint” (Uni/Def Jam), released Tuesday, into the No. 1 spot.

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